Flights between Europe and Hong Kong and Shanghai will be able to use a shorter route in a move to ease congestion during the Olympic Games in Beijing, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata). The route, called the Olympic Bypass, would be opened on a permanent basis, the global industry body said. It would cut the travel distance by 60 nautical miles. Cathay Pacific Airways welcomed the plan as it could cut jet fuel consumption. Beijing Capital International Airport said it would help to ease pressure on air traffic control and improve on-time performance. Iata chief executive Giovanni Bisignani said: 'It will alleviate delays and congestion as flights from Europe to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong no longer need to be channelled through Beijing.' Based on the 475 flights that will use the new route, the industry could save about 26,000 tonnes of jet fuel and cut 82,672 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. It could also help ease the workload at Beijing's airport and allow it to handle more flights. Beijing Capital International Airport is expected to handle 1,900 flights per day in August, 70 per cent more than the 1,100 flights at present because of the Games. In August last year, the government ordered airlines to trim daily flights to the Beijing airport by 100 per day to tackle severe delays. Nearly two out of three flights in Beijing were delayed for more than 15 minutes due to limited air space, according to the company secretary of the airport. Last autumn, the military agreed to liberalise air space for civil purposes to improve the situation. That helped lessen delays by 20 per cent. Beijing airport forecasts that daily aircraft movements could return to the normal 1,100 this month, after a slight decline in the first quarter, according to the company secretary.